Filipino Basketball Official Compares American’s Criticism of Manny Pacquiao to Insulting MLK

Manny Pacquiao AFP

Sticks and stones may not break Manny Pacquiao’s bones. But names will always hurt him.

The Philippine Basketball Association has ejected an African-American player from its league after he ridiculed the skills of boxer-baller Manny Pacquiao, with a team official comparing the criticism of the national hero on Filipino soil to going to the United States and insulting Martin Luther King.

Daniel Orton called Manny Pacquiao a “joke” as a professional basketball player after the welterweight boxer scored one point in helping Kia Carnival defeat Orton’s Purefoods Star Hotshots.

Orton alleged favoritism for the Philippines’s favorite son. “The way the game was going, the refs, they made it into a mockery, seriously,” he opined. “They took the game that I know and love and made it into a mockery.”

The officials called the same number of fouls on Orton (six) as he registered in the scoring tally. The frustrated center’s complaints centered on “ticky-tacky” fouls called in a supposedly physical league and the deference given toward a celebrity player.

“That’s part of the joke I was talking about,” Orton divulged. “Professional boxer, okay. Congressman, alright. Professional basketball player? No. It’s a joke. Seriously, it’s a joke.”

John Pudner of Breitbart Sports ranked Orton as the 794th best player—in the top quintile—in college basketball in his freshman 2009-2010 season at Kentucky. The one-and-done Wildcat boasts stints with the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Philadelphia 76ers. He played in China before his three-game misadventure in the Philippines.

“Everyone is angry at him,” Rene Pardo said from the Purefoods front office, alleging that “it is like he went to the United States and insulted the name of Martin Luther King.”

The league fined Orton $6,500 and Purefoods cut him. Pacquiao, on the other hand, vows to continue his PBA career even as he trains for his May 2 superfight against Floyd Mayweather. He looks to continue his “cross training,” as he calls it, against the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters on Wednesday.

Not since The Beatles snubbed Imelda Marcos has a guest been so reviled in such a short time in the country. Whereas John Lennon quipped, “If we go back, it will be with an H-bomb,” Daniel Orton offered nothing but well wishes for his brief hosts:

“This office disapproves of and frowns upon the cavalier manner in which Mr. Orton issued his comments and the unwarranted antics and liberties he has taken with the league and a fellow player,” read a statement by outgoing league commissioner Chito Salud. “This insulting behaviour will never be condoned by this league.”

Neither will foreign players standing above 6’9”—at least according to the PBA’s rule book. Daniel Orton, listed by Kentucky at 6’10,” somehow wormed his way into the PBA. One way or the other, this speaks to Orton’s point.